Cape Town - The Proteas are out to start their tour of Australia on a winning note when they take on a Prime Minister’s XI in a tour warm-up match at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday.
The match will be the Proteas’ only practice match ahead of the first One- Day International (ODI) against Australia in Perth on Sunday.
The squad has been preparing in the country for nearly a week and the first opportunity of middle time gives Proteas coach, Ottis Gibson, an opportunity to finalise his combinations for the tour-opener at the Optus Stadium.
“We will be as close to full strength as possible,” he said in Canberra on Tuesday.
“Most of the guys who will play in Perth are most likely to play tomorrow, barring injury. We have to see how everything shapes out tonight, and tomorrow we will put a good team out and try to start the tour off with a win.
“We have had a couple of good days in Perth and we are looking forward to this game. It is our first actual match, the guys get tired of net sessions, so we want to get out in the middle.”
The Prime Minister’s XI will be coached by former Australian batsman Chris Rogers, and captained by former ODI and T20 captain, George Bailey, and includes a host of rising young Australian stars. The annual ceremonial match is a long-standing tradition in Australia – the first match was played in 1951 - and will be attended by the incumbent Prime Minister Hon. Scott Morrison.
For the Proteas, the match signals the start of an important next phase of preparation, with a focus on mindset and smart execution.
“We are half way to our preparation for the World Cup, that is what we are focusing on,” Gibson said.
“This is the next step on that World Cup journey. We have been trying to play a certain brand of cricket, a little bit more positive and aggressive, and we would like to test that out.
“The team that Australia has put out, despite what is going on off the field, we have to respect them, they still have quality players. This will be an opportunity for us to test ourselves against them and to see where we are.”